Reps Probe Privatisation And Concession of Railway Lines

Railway corporation, Train serviceThe House of Representatives is to investigate if the concession of assets of the Nigeria Railways Corporation to General Electric violates the county’s privatisation laws.

In a motion considered during Tuesday’s plenary, the lawmakers queried what they described as an attempt by the Federal Executive Council to concession the Western (Lagos-Kano) and Eastern (Port Harcourt-Maiduguri) rail lines, to General Electric, without recourse to the Bureau of Public Enterprises, and privatisation regulations.

The move to investigate the concession agreement with GE comes after a motion raised by Honourable Chukwuemeka Ujam.

The lawmakers said the action of the FEC is a part of attempts to pander to certain interests who want to see the nation’s core assets sold off and alleged that the move contravenes the Public Enterprises (Privatization and Commercialization) Act, 1999.

ahmed_yerima
Ahmed Yerima heads the house committee on privatisation

The chairman of the House committee on Privatization, Yerima Ahmed, said by engaging the American firm, FEC had usurped the functions of the Bureau of Public Enterprises and the National Council on Privatisation.

“Section 11 (j) outlines the procedures for privatisation; there are four sections to be followed by the BPE and the agency is not being carried along.

“The NCP has not been inaugurated, and in its absence, the BPE is the secretariat for any privatisation.” He said

The chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Relations, Nnenna Ukeje, said it is incomprehensible how such concession or privatization agreement would be deemed legal when the National Economic Stimulus Bill is yet to be signed into law.

Honourable Ukeje says "we cannot sacrifice our laws, our processes on the altar of expediency."
Honourable Ukeje says “we cannot sacrifice our laws, our processes on the altar of expediency.”

The house committee on privatisation was directed to investigate the matter and report back to the house in four weeks.

Debated Concession

After the last Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja, the Minister for Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi announced that the council has approved a negotiation with GE, towards contracting the railways across Nigeria.

‎He said the narrow gauge railways to be contracted would to a great extent, assist the agriculture and mining ministries in the transportation of extracted minerals.

One of them is the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway which would include: Port Harcourt, Aba, Umuahia, Enugu, Makurdi, Jos, Gombe and Bauchi to Borno.

The other is the Lagos-Kano railway, which would also comprise: Lagos, Abeokuta, Ibadan, ‎Ilorin, Kano, Funtua and Zaria to Kaura Namoda.

The Transportation Minister says the railways to be rehabilitated by GE will come at no cost to the government.

Police Strategise To Avert ‘Ember Months’ Crime In Abia

Police, Imo, Ember Months, CrimePolice have strategically positioned personnel at various entrances into Abia State in southeast Nigeria.

The Abia State Police Command says the development is part of measures to prevent and reduce crime in the state during the ’ember months’.

Addressing personnel in Umuahia, the Commissioner of Police, Mr Adeleye Oyebade, said the deployment would also guarantee travelers and residents’ safety on the highways.

He added that due to influx of people in and out of the state during the period, the efforts put in place would assist in checkmating crime.

Mr Adeleye reassured the people of the state that the police would leave no stone upturned to ensure their safety.

He also urged officials at the command to be diligent, professional and honest in the course of their duty.

FEC Approves 30bn Naira For Mining, Okays Railway Concession

FEC Approves 30bn Naira For Mining, Okays Railway ConcessionThe Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved 30 billion Naira intervention fund for mining exploration in Nigeria.

The Minister of Mining and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, gave the figure at the end of the FEC meeting presided by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Dr. Fayemi, alongside his counterparts at the Information and Transportation Ministries, Mr Lai Mohammed and Mr Rotimi Amaechi, briefed journalists on Wednesday in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

The Council, he said, stressed the importance of inter-ministerial coordination and for the ministry to work with the ministries of transportation; power, works and housing; as well as environment on safer mining practices.

The Minister added that the mining ministry would also work with that of health, ‎to help build a multi-sectoral focus on mining and also encourage private sector investment.

On his part, Mr Amaechi hinted that the Council approved a negotiation with General Electric (GE), towards contracting the railways across Nigeria.

‎He said the narrow gauge railways to be contracted would to a great extent, assist the agriculture and mining ministries in the transportation of extracted minerals.

The Transportation Minister further identified the railways to be rehabilitated at no cost to the government.

One of them is the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway which would include: Port Harcourt, Aba, Umuahia, Enugu, Makurdi, Jos, Gombe and Bauchi to Borno.

The other is the Lagos-Kano railway, which would also comprise: Lagos, Abeokuta, Ibadan, ‎Ilorin, Kano, Funtua and Zaria to Kaura Namoda.

Police Nab 25 Criminals In Abia

Police-Arrest-Army-official-in-Imo-StateThe Abia State Police Commissioner, Oyebade Adeleye said that the command has strategically put in place measures that would guide against abduction of school students from their dormitory or on the way home.

He made this statement at the Police Headquarters in Bende Road, Umuahia, during the parade of suspected criminals who were accused of being involved in various hideous crimes that include rape, murder, armed robbery, stealing and snatching of vehicles amongst many others.

The items recovered from them include televisions, phones, money, AK-47 rifles, live ammunition, locally made pistols and two vehicles.

According to the CP, the suspects, if found guilty, would be arraigned in court to face the full wrath of law.

One of the suspects is a 23-year-old motorcycle operator from Lokpaukwu, carrying the picture of the lifeless body of the 65-year-old victim whom he allegedly raped and later murdered. He refused to admit to the crime.

Another suspect is Nwaka Aka from Owo Ahia Afor in Obingwa Local Government Area, who specializes in buying stolen goods from an armed robber.

The Police Commissioner hinted that the command is also making efforts to prevent abduction and kidnapping in the schools across the state.

He urged all and sundry to partner with them by volunteering information at all times.

NSCDC Officials Rescue Baby Abandoned With A Letter In Abia

Abia NSCDC rescues Abandoned BabyThe Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has rescued an abandoned baby girl in Abia State, southeast Nigeria.

The infant was dropped by the mother with a letter that the baby should not be sold but handed over to motherless babies’ home or any well-meaning Nigerian who can cater for her welfare.

Reacting to the development on Tuesday, the Abia State NSCDC Commandant, Walter Chika, noted that the right of every Nigerian child must be protected.

He revealed that the abandoned child was rescued by the Anti-Traffic Unit of the agency near a health centre in Avodim village in Umuahia South Local Government Area of the state.

Against Child’s Right

The NSCDC Commandant urged young women to ensure that they were ready for child care before engaging in acts that could result into pregnancy.

He stated that abandoning children under the disguise of inability to care for them was a criminal act and against the right of the Nigerian child.

Mr Chika also called on the mother to show sympathy for the child who needed her love.

He disclosed that discussion was ongoing with designated ministry to take responsibility for the child.

Umuahia Homicide: Hospital Awaits Autopsy Go-Ahead

Nigeria_Police_Armoured_Personnel_CarrierThe Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia Imo State, is awaiting a go-ahead to carry out an autopsy on the two persons who were killed at the Bar Cum Hotel, Uyo Street, Umuahia, Abia state.

Three among the six people rushed to the hospital on Tuesday, have recovered while one is still in the Intensive Care Unit of the Federal Medical Centre.

All attempts to get information from the patients were blocked. Meanwhile, the hospital management said they were still awaiting the results of the blood samples.

Investigation has followed the homicide that has left people within the neighbourhood in fear as they said it was caused by an unknown ghost.

When Channels Television visited the scene of the incident, Police had cordoned off the street to forestall unwarranted action or breakdown of law and order.

Eyewitness said that the occupants of the building claimed that it was an unknown ghost that caused the deaths.

He narrated that the coming of the hotel in the neighbourhood had led to all manner of crimes, hinting that the latest incident was the second time such was happening in a row.

Meanwhile, the Police Commissioner in the state, Adeleye Oyebade, confirmed the death of the two persons and said that the other four involved in the incident were presently recuperating at the Accident and Emergency Unit of Federal Medical Centre in Umuahia.

Although reporters were not allowed to ask questions or take shots, the crowd outside the emergency unit equally were not allowed to give out any information.

Mr Adeleye has also urged Abia residents to go about their lawful duties, as Police were on top of the issue.

He said that investigations were still ongoing to unravel the mystery behind the death and injuries inflicted on the people.

Governor Ikpeazu Inspects Waste Dumpsites In Umuahia

Okezie Ikpeazu, Waste, UmuahiaThe Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, has made an inspection visit to some refuse disposal sites within the Umuahia, the state’s capital.

The Governor said the visit was to ensure strict adherence of the roll-out policy and template for environmental waste management in the state in southeast Nigeria.

He expressed displeasure with the indiscriminate waste dumpsites in the Umuahia metropolis.

Governor Ikpeazu said he had decided to put up an intervention to make the waste disappear, as trucks were already seen carting away waste from the streets.

Also during the unscheduled inspection, he engaged the supervisor of the environmental intervention, Otah Ukariwo, in a conversation on the need to keep Abia Sate clean at all times and to clearly understand if there were challenges.

Governor Ikpeazu promised that the state government would support the effort and put all the necessary machinery in place to realise its goal.

On his part, Mr Ukariwo hinted that they have cleared the debris at the Health Centre road, Zone Nine and other areas.

He assured the Governor of an effective waste management in Ehimiri and the World Bank Housing Estate from 5:00 a.m. local time every Sunday or Saturday.

Governor Ikpeazu also took time out to inspect the road rehabilitation at the New Conference Centre at the Government layout in the state’s capital.

MASSOB Members Stage Peaceful Procession To Mark Anniversary

MASSOB, BiafraMembers of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) in Abia State on Tuesday defied the rains as they marched in a peaceful procession through Umuahia and some local government areas.

The procession was to celebrate the 17th year anniversary of the group.

Men, women and retired soldiers who call themselves ‘Freedom fighters’ were seen carrying placards and singing songs hinting that they have reasons to celebrate.

Some of them who spoke to Channels Television disclosed that they would only believe in Nigeria as one nation if things would be done differently.

They condemned what they described as recent massive killings of their fellow southerners in the northern part of the country, inequality in governance, amongst many others.

According to Evans Okoronkwo and Kingsley Nwosu, the way the country is going has become a source of concern that indicates that it is not one nation as being portrayed to the world.

Ikpeazu Assesses Achievements In Road Construction

Abia, Ikpeazu, FAulks RoadThe Abia State Governor, Mr Okezie Ikpeazu, on Tuesday said that despite the recent political upheavals, he has been able to leave a land mark in various sectors especially in road construction at Aba and across the three senatorial zones of the state.

He said this while speaking during a reception held in his honor by the entire traditional rulers of Abia state made up of 732 autonomous communities at Michael Okpara Auditorium, Umuahia.

According to the Governor, Abia State residents, irrespective of political affiliations, should join hands to move the state to an enviable position, where trade and commerce thrive for economic development.

The Governor said that despite the opposition, he would ensure that the pillar of unity in the state is not destroyed and promised that the state, under his watch, will be united and peaceful.

He commended the traditional rulers for their belief in equity, justice and fairness hinting that the honor done to him is a confirmation that his mandate is divine.

Meanwhile, the Chairman, Council of Ndieze and Southeast Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Eberechi Dick reminded all politicians to allow peace reign as the traditional institution would ensure that Abia South enjoys their maximum tenure as enjoyed by Abia North and Abia Central.

Police Reveal Approach To Crime Control In Zone Nine

Police, Zone Nine, Hassan KarmaThe Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone Nine, Hassan Karma, has revealed the security strategies to tackle crime within the zone in southeast Nigeria.

He listed the plans to include bringing the police closer to the people, policing with integrity and adopting professionalism among others.

Mr Karma warned that the era of people committing crime in a state and migrating to another state in an attempt to flee from justice was over.

He told a gathering that the Nigeria Police Force had deployed check and balances across Nigeria, to curtail crime.

The Commissioner also noted that efficient crime management had been adopted, as the focal point in community policing.

He added that he was devising amenable ways of establishing and maintaining mutual trust between the citizenry and the police.

Mr Karma reiterated that crime would not be tolerated anymore within the zone and warned that anybody found wanting, regardless of his or her status, would not go unpunished.

He was speaking on Monday at a gathering in Umuahia, the Abia State capital.

The Chairman of Umuahia North Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Philips Ajomuiwe and the Imo State Comptroller of Immigration, Anthonia Opara, expressed delight at the development.

They told Channels Television that they would bring crime down to its minimal level.

Nursing Mothers Urged To Adhere To Exclusive Breastfeeding

Exclusive Breastfeeding, Nursing mothersNursing mothers were on Wednesday, advised to exclusively breastfeed their babies from the day of birth to six months without adding water or any supplement.

This emphasis was the focus of an awareness talk held at the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Abia State, southeast region.

According to the Head of Nursing Department at Federal Medical Centre,Umuahia, Ms Nwanyieze Mba, “There is no better time to begin the awareness than now because of the increasing number of malnourished and dehydrated infants that are brought to the antenatal ward frequently because of the inability of the mothers to breastfeed 8-12 times a day.”

Also, a pediatrician, Dr Amara Okafor, while addressing the nursing mothers, stressed the consequences of not adhering to breast feeding.

Among the risks she highlighted is bacterial contamination in infants as well as the babies’ immunity being very low which makes them vulnerable to diseases.

The pediatrician lamented that about 37% of mothers were not feeding their babies with breast milk and hinted that the trend must stop if Nigerian women want healthy babies and a healthy future.

Some of the nursing mothers who attended the breastfeeding awareness talk said that they would ensure that their babies’ future and health become priority.

They disclosed that they would carry the campaign home to every nursing mother in their communities because they agree that it is indeed the only way to protect the child.

The highlight of the breastfeeding awareness talk was the presentation of gifts to some well-fed babies whose mothers have adhered strictly to exclusive breastfeeding.

Abia Sets Task Force To Arrest Illegal Revenue Collectors

okezie ikpeazu, Abia State,The Abia State government has set up a task force to arrest all illegal revenue collectors who swindle citizens in the state.

The Commissioner for Information, Mr Bonnie Iwuoha while briefing journalists at the end of an emergency Executive Council meeting Wednesday, said the government is worried that several groups operating within the state are collecting revenue from citizens without government approval.

He hinted that henceforth all those involved in the ugly act will be prosecuted.

He also disclosed that the EXCO ratified the report from the Finance and General Purposes Committee with the award of contract for the lighting of some major roads in Umuahia.

The road contract includes the 14.5KM Umuocheala-Abayi Road in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area, the 7.5KM Nbawsi- Eziala-Osusu-Okpuala Ngwa Road and the Abayi Ariaria-Umuakpara Road.

According to him, other contracts awarded by the government include the renovation of the Child and Maternal Ward at the Abia State University Teaching hospital at the cost of about N65 million.

Other contracts also approved by the government are the 4.5KM Faulks Road and the rehabilitation and expansion of the Ifeobara Pond at the cost of N6.8 billion  as well as the contract for the 6.15KM Amuda Isuochi Road in Umunneochi Local Government Area at the cost of N836.2 million.